Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Movies: What, was home depot out of olive drab?


Let's just get this out there. It is baffling to the point of distraction that Amelia, the mother going through what can only considered a serious downgrade in the QC of her parenting skills throughout Jennifer Kent's justly lauded debut The Badadook, and her dead-before-the-story-starts hubby decided that the best color to paint every freakin' surface in the interior of their home was gray. And, like, super gray, total gray, industrial background color of a WWII era battleship gray.

I don't expect the victims in horror flicks to get all feng shuish (feng shuiy? feng shuesque?), but seriously, what the fuck is up with that? Are we to assume that in the happy, pre-banana-town-crazy-pants days of the husband's still-aliveness the happily married couple decided that every room in their house should have walls the color of a dead pre-flatscreen television's screen? Are we supposed to believe that Amelia did the repaint after her hubby died and nobody thought that the chromatic equivalent of choked sob was a sign of incipient weapons-grade depression? Were they just looking to save a buck on paint and somehow got a hold a bunch of cans of Navy surplus gray-wash?

I'm reminded of the bizarrely aggressive design of the titular spaceship at the center of the ghosts-in-space flick Event Horizon. Watching that film for the first time I couldn't help but be distracted by the idea that some complete and utter jackass back at whatever will pass for NASA after we've privatized nearly every aspect of space travel thought, "I was thinking, this is a longterm space mission and these folks are going to be stuck in this tin can for a long, long time. Better make their environment as conducive to mental health as possible by designing it to look, as much as it can, like a cross between a haunted house and the inside of a meat grinder."

That form follows function door swings both ways. You don't want a haunted house, don't make a haunted, and there won't be no haunted house. Just sayin'.

That said, I feel like there is truly nothing constructive I can add to pretty much universal chorus of praise Babadook earned. Consider, interior decoration issues aside, my voice added to the chorus. And, yes, I get the metaphorical significance of Amelia's inexplicably dumb color scheme choice. In fact, it is rare misstep into "aboutness" that this obviously allegorical flick makes, which means this film pulls off the truly rare stunt of wallowing in implicit real world themes without dragging the viewer into a tedious lecture.

So here's my cheat for Babadook: just imagine that Amelia and the dead hubby were about to paint the house in some seriously bold colors, but the hubby died and derailed things after the gray softening base coat went down. Then push that completely absurd objection out of your mind and enjoy a remarkable film.


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